Students Staff
University of Essex

February 22, 2016

Marmite meetings

Filed under: Advice & Support,TEL — Tags: , , , — Amy Lowe @ 9:35 am

Do you love or loath meetings in the workplace?

Following on from September’s Question of the Month responses, we have collated a number of  solutions to help to reduce the burden of meetings in the workplace.

One way to save yourself some time (and money) is to organise your meetings using some clever technology that allows participants to join no matter where they are in the world.

When organising another meeting consider…

1. Do all invitees have to travel?

Why not take a look at this 15-Minute Manual on Remote Meeting Technology to get an idea of what’s involved and how you could take advantage of this simple process. You’ll need to login to Moodle with your Essex ID, e.g., to read the manual.

These days a lot of continual professional development (CPD), sharing good practice and training as well as tutorials, meetings and interviews are done using videoconferencing or online webinars. The technologies involved are for the most part free (or already on your desk) and easy to use making the organisation and participation in some meetings much more efficient.

2. Could technology help with communication of progress?

Find out how to make use of Trello or RealtimeBoard or Smartsheet to organise and collaborate virtually, thus reducing the need for face-to-face meetings. These handy tools are cloud-based, so if you need to work with personal information these may not be appropriate. Ask the Information Assurance Manager in IT Services for advice if you’re not sure.

3. Does your meeting have a clear purpose?

BlueGrace Logistics founder Bobby Harris recommends that people don’t accept a meeting unless the person who requested it has put forth a clear agenda and stated exactly how much time they will need. And even then, Harris recommends giving the person half of the time they initially requested.

4. Does your meeting need to be more than 30 minutes?

You could say meetings are like accordions – they stretch naturally to fill the allotted space!   If you schedule a meeting for an hour, you will probably use the whole time, even if a fair amount consists of off-topic conversation.   In all likelihood if you schedule that same meeting for 30 minutes, you’ll do what you need to in the tighter time period.

5. Does your meeting need to be stationary?

There is research showing that stand-up meetings can be more efficient. Review our previous blog post about ensuring you break up your working day, which includes a TED talk covering the many benefits of walking meetings.

Breaking the bad habits

Watch the below video by David Grady, giving advice on how to stop bad, inefficient and overcrowded meetings taking over your working day.


For an amusing view point on how to sabotage any meeting, Gregory Ciotti highlights his shortlist of ways to derail a meeting.  Have you experience these?

What suggestions do you have to improve your meetings?

Comment below to share your ideas.

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One response to “Marmite meetings”

  1. […] on from our question of the month last summer, and the subsequent blog post regarding using technology to improve efficiency of meetings, we have found a Leading Productive Meetings course on which any member of staff has […]

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